NYU moves nursing to College of Dentistry

March 26, 2005
In joining, the two programs will combine forces to promote five key competencies that the IOM has declared essential for health care professionals in the 21st century.

Seeking new synergies through interdisciplinary health research and education as urged by the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, New York University announced today that its Division of Nursing, currently in the Steinhardt School of Education, will become a new College of Nursing within the NYU College of Dentistry, effective September 1, 2005.

Both Nursing and Dentistry will continue to pursue robust independent academic agendas while also taking advantage of exciting opportunities to collaborate, form alliances, and further improve health care in America.

NYU President John Sexton said, "One of NYU's distinctive characteristics is our openness to innovation. As a community, we look towards the future rather than dwell on the past. The future of health care lies in new interdisciplinary directions in education, research, and patient care.

"Today's action vastly increases the opportunities for each field -- dentistry and nursing -- to engage in interdisciplinary learning and scholarship. The nursing and dental programs provided by New York University are among the finest in the nation. They share a deep commitment to academic quality, clinical excellence, and research innovation. Moreover, they have delivered compassionate health care to needy patients in the region for a combined period of more than 200 years. We look forward to providing patients in our world-renowned dental clinics with the option to visit top-notch nurse practitioners, working in collaboration with physicians and dentists, to foster earlier diagnosis and treatment of the many chronic conditions that plague Americans."

The College of Dentistry, founded in 1865, is the largest and third oldest dental school in the nation. Although it is known for great clinical programs, it also has one of the largest and rapidly growing research programs in the country. It is very influential in shaping the nature of dental practice worldwide with unique programs in the areas of oral cancer, tissue engineering, dental implants, and terrorism preparedness.

The Division of Nursing, founded in the Steinhardt School in 1932, is one of the nation's most highly respected nursing programs, offering baccalaureate, masters', doctoral, and post-doctoral programs. Its nationally renowned faculty guide 13 advanced-practice nursing specialties, and lead one of the country's oldest and most selective doctoral programs.

In joining, the two programs will combine forces to promote five key competencies that the IOM has declared essential for health care professionals in the 21st century: providing patient-centered care, working in interdisciplinary teams, employing evidence-based practice, applying quality improvement, and using informatics.

Dr. Michael Alfano, Dean of the College of Dentistry, said, "For many years, the IOM has called for health professional schools to stop educating students in 'silos' when patients expect them to work in collaborative teams in clinical practice. This innovation by NYU is a giant step in that direction. Even more importantly, this combination places NYU in an ideal position to research the many evolving links between oral health and general health. Specifically, the partnership of the two disciplines offers a great opportunity for research collaborations in such areas as pain control, the emerging role of oral infection in systemic conditions including premature birth, diabetes, lung infection and heart disease, and the increasing use of saliva in non-invasive tests of both oral and general health."

Dr. Terry Fulmer, who will become Dean of the new College of Nursing, said, "This move affords a particular opportunity for the growth and development of nursing, a field that has made enormous progress in advancing clinical care and health research. We anticipate that nursing and dentistry will inform each other in a way that has not been developed in the past, and patients will have the opportunity to obtain additional primary health care while receiving their dental care. Strong research and teaching collaborations will quickly evolve."

Dr. Alfano added, "The faculty and students of the college will build outreach programs with NYU's Steinhardt School of Education to foster improved health care for New York's school children, and to help Steinhardt complete the critical 'health pillar', in its unique multiple pillars concept of educational excellence."

To achieve these important goals, and to help address the troublesome shortage of nurses in New York and elsewhere, Alfano and Fulmer indicated that they intend to expand the nursing program significantly in the future.